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Postgraduate research project

Acoustic sensing and characterisation of soil organic matter

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

How we exploit, treat, and manage soil is critical to the global carbon cycle and our resilience to global warming. Lively soil ensures good crops and resistance to drought but is not easy to achieve. For instance, adding organic matter to soil may, in the longer term, be counter-effective, increasing the CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

Recent research suggests that there is no 'one-fits-all' solution, and soil management should account for a broad spectrum of factors. Effective soil management requires versatile measurement techniques for capturing soil condition in situ, preferably in a remote monitoring mode.

While some methods for determining soil organic matter exist, they are immature and either confined to laboratory settings or limited to large, regional scale. Acoustic sensing is a low-cost and versatile modality used extensively for monitoring and characterisation in various industries.

This project aims to uncover how acoustic waves travel through complex soils with different forms and levels of organic matter and develop robust and field-applicable methods for measuring soil livelihood. Its outcome is pivotal for advancing soil management practices and learning their impact on the soil's health.

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.


  • Dr Michal Kalkowski (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Tiina Roose (University of Southampton)